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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect HF Propagation:

from The ARRL Letter, Vol 25, No 33 on August 18, 2006
Website: http://www.arrl.org/
View comments about this article!

'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect HF Propagation, Study Suggests:

A New Zealand university research group believes a US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) "Radiation Belt Remediation" (RBR) plan could cause major worldwide disruptions to HF radio communication and GPS navigation. DARPA reportedly envisions RBR as a way to protect low-Earth orbiting (LEO) satellites from damage caused by severe solar storms or even from high-altitude nuclear detonations. The New Zealand-based research group suggests, however, that policymakers need to carefully consider the implications of the project. Headed by Craig Rodger of the University of Otago Physics Department, the research group says RBR could significantly affect radio propagation from several days to a week or longer.

"We've calculated that Earth's upper atmosphere would be dramatically affected by such a system, causing unusually intense HF blackouts around most of the world," Rodger said. "Airplane pilots and ships would lose radio contact, and some Pacific Island nations could be isolated for as long as six to seven days, depending on the system's design and how it was operated." GPS would likely also be disrupted on a large scale, he added.

System tests would employ extremely high-intensity, very low frequency (VLF) radio waves to "flush" particles from radiation belts and dump them into the upper atmosphere. The disruptions would result from the deluge of dumped charged particles temporarily changing the ionosphere from a "mirror" that bounces HF radio waves around the planet to a "sponge" that soaks them up, Rodger explains.

The group's paper, "The atmospheric implications of radiation belt remediation" http://www.physics.otago.ac.nz/research/space/ag-24-2025.pdf, appears in the August edition of the international journal Annales Geophysicae. University of Otago researchers collaborated with UK and Finnish scientists in its preparation.

ARRL Propagation Report Editor Tad Cook, K7RA, contacted Rodger to learn more about the RBR proposal. Rodger told him that RBR "is a serious project, that 'money is starting to appear to investigate it in more detail,' and 'US scientists with military connections are treating it seriously'," Cook said.

Unclassified US Department of Defense budget documents from earlier this year have proposed using Alaska's High Frequency Active Auroral Research Project (HAARP) "to exploit emerging ionosphere and radio science technologies related to advanced defense applications." HAARP is jointly operated by the US Air Force and the US Navy. The project appears to be included under a program called "Sleight of HAND" (SoH).

"The effects of High Altitude Nuclear Detonations (HAND) are catastrophic to satellites," the budget report explains. "HAND-generated charged particles are trapped for very long periods of time, oscillating between the earth's north and south magnetic poles. This enhanced radiation environment would immediately degrade low-earth orbiting (LEO) spacecraft capability and result in their destruction in a short period of time."

The military budget documents refer to the SoH program as "a proof of concept demonstration" of technology and techniques to mitigate the HAND-enhanced trapped radiation, with the goal of accelerating "the rate of decay of trapped radiation from the LEO environment by a factor of 10 over the natural rate of decay."

Source:

The ARRL Letter Vol. 25, No. 33 August 18, 2006

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
We have one and only one ionosphere.  
by AI2IA on August 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"Unclassified US Department of Defense budget documents from earlier this year have proposed using Alaska's High Frequency Active Auroral Research Project (HAARP) "to exploit emerging ionosphere and radio science technologies related to advanced defense applications." HAARP is jointly operated by the US Air Force and the US Navy. The project appears to be included under a program called "Sleight of HAND" (SoH)."

I think that the time has come for all hams to review the abundant material available on Project HAARP. It is convenient to experiment on a few white mice when thousands of them are available. It is convenient to experiment on monkeys when you can purchase hundreds of them for research. We have one and only one ionosphere. Mess this one up and we all could regret it. The general public should have a decisive say on this, but the job of the media is always to marginalize the general public. Who will be held responsible if anything goes seriously wrong? A committee? Keep your eye on this one.
 
RE: We have one and only one ionosphere.  
by K0RFD on August 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I trust the public implicitly.

But I'd have to give the government the advantage here. It's too complicated and too easy to bullshit people.

We do have only one ionosphere. And the government shouldn't mess with it.

Then again, if you read the Bill of Rights, there's a lot of other stuff the government shouldn't be messing with either, and they're successfully getting away with it.

Good luck.
 
'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect HF  
by W1YW on August 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I think it's time the ARRL STOPPED being alarmist and activist. And that selected hams STOPPED getting suckered in.

Those so qualified should read the paper AND the DARPA comments.

Essentially, the gist is that IF AN ATOMIC BLAST is detonated in the the upper atmosphere (no not mesophere), HAARP MAY be used to quench some of the charged particle barrage. The effect would be temporary but real in extending D region absorption--which usually affects LF and MF--to HF and even low VHF. On the good side, the destruction of LEO's from increased drag and charged particle bombardment would be lessoned fairly dramatically. Essentially the report discusses using HAARP as a countermeasure.

Now: Selected Boys and Girls. LISTEN UP.

If someone blasts a nuke in this manner the issue is HARDLY ham radio skip at HF. In that case, The United States is at war. Big time. And you'll probably be shut down. Period.

So cut this Art Bell conspiracy baloney and get real for once. OK?

You should be GRATEFUL that HAARP--AS A SCIENTIFIC TOOL-- also has some defensive advantages. I am very happy to see this.

The ARRL has acted irresponsibly by posting this as their LEAD NEWS ITEM 'FOR ALL AMATEURS' the previous two days. Only LATE today was it dumped to the bottom of the heap on the web page.

I am an ARRL member and I a ripped mad that MY ORGANIZATION has been so alarmist and made fools of the ham community.

SHAME!

Chip W1YW
 
Many research tools, but just one ionosphere.  
by AI2IA on August 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
So far, I see no alarmism, only advocacy for caution and watchfulness. Having worked all my life in the military-defense establishment, I am not suggesting a conspiracy. Why drive the issue to an extreme? I have never known of the military-defense establishment ever, ever contracting for a "tool" and then not using it at least several times. Remember the flying wing? Well, they flew it at least several times before discarding it. I am not anti-military-defense. My pension comes from there. Experts are the last group of people you ever want to trust with a decision that affects everyone. Who let the killer bees out? What is wrong with educating yourself on the nature of HAARP? If you are a man, then nothing that concerns mankind should be foreign to your interest. One ionosphere - keep an eye on what is going on, and make yourself heard.
 
'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect HF  
by W1YW on August 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
OM--

What the heck is there to AD-VO-CATE? Killing HAARP? Gimme a break!

The D Region as a national Park?

Wanna know what happens to National Parks? We let the worst case scenarios happen: Yellowstone looks like cross between the Tunguska event and a Christmas tree farm; Glacier looks like a typical Boston neighborhood in the 80's--selectively gutted by fire. Grand Canyon is a common smoke-bowl for 'controlled burn'.

In comparison the D region will always be pristine... better OFF than a NP!

If hams attack HAARP because of this report, I will gladly make public efforts to deride--based upon fact--those who take such untenable positions that are contrary to the missions of Part 97.

73,
Chip W1YW
 
'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect HF  
by KD7OED on August 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I'm not sure how the ARRL publishing a rather factual article qualifies as “alarmist.” My read of the article indicates that it merely quotes some of the scientific material and tries to explain it in a relatively simple fashion that is easy for the majority of us to understand. The article does have its problems to be sure, but what one page article on a very complex subject doesn’t? I have read the paper and it appears to me that the problem with the article appears to be merely oversimplification rather than alarmism. The only major failure I noted was a failure is to explain that the HF outages associated with Radiation Belt Remediation (RBR) would be relatively short-lived.
Personally, I would like to thank the ARRL staff for writing the article and bringing the paper to my attention, as I found the subject very interesting. I would also like to point out that there are now a great number of rougue states that possess the technology to conduct a High-Altitude Nuclear Explosion (HANE), so it is by no means certain that the US will be at war after such an event (after all, we didn’t go to war after all of the other HANE events referenced in the paper, did we?). W1YW, we don’t all have advanced degrees in physics – perhaps your unique skills would be better served by writing a more comprehensive explanation of this complex subject instead of just another “bash the ARRL” rant.

73,

KD7OED
 
Most Hams can examine issues objectively.  
by AI2IA on August 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Most hams can examine technical issues relating to radio communications objectively. A close look at Project HAARP will disclose its powerful nature and attest to why it must be handled responsibly and monitored by the American public, you know, those wage earners and working class folks who pay for it. I don't see why anyone should get emotional over the so-called "remediation" issue. It is just plain old common sense, regardless of how someone may want to twist it just to draw attention to themselves. With that said, I leave the discussion in the hands of those quite capable of seeing for themselves the potential for things to go wrong here. Reading about Project HAARP helps to increase our understanding and appreciation of our ionosphere, that is our one and only ionosphere. Handle with care.
 
'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect HF  
by W1YW on August 18, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
The American public is incapable of monitoring HAARP, Arecibo, The VLA, ATA OR ANY OTHER LARGE ARRAY.

It is silly to say something like that.

This whole thing belongs on Art Bell-NOT the headliner on the ARRL web page--which it HAD until people complained....

This whole thing has zero impact on ham radio--and never will.

73,
Chip W1YW
 
RE: 'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect  
by NN4RH on August 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
The ARRL article spins things just enough to make it seem like it's an attack on ham radio. For example, omitting mentioning the effects of this are temporary.

(Tip: Look for one of their monthly Spectrum Protection fundraising letters in the mail in the coming days.)

Download the actual subject article and read it instead - and it's fairly easy to see that this is not something for hams to get indignant and aggravated about.

The temporary effect on ham radio would be comparable to the HF blackouts that we see occassionally anyway. BFD.

The purpose of this is as Chip pointed out a countermeasure against high altitude nuclear explosions damaging low-earth orbiting satellites (i.e., "spy satellites" if you prefer that term).

The military activities that might have to use this thing are not idiots. They will be aware of the possible damage on HF propagation, which is very important to the military and government, too. It would not be used arbitrarily or routinely.

Can't speak for anyone else, but I think it'd be fair to give up working DX for 9 hours, in exchange for keeping our satellite intelligence gathering and surveillance up and running so that the US and our allies can be protected from those around the world who want to kill us.
 
'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect HF  
by AB0WR on August 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
The article would seem to make one glaring mistake in judgement. It basically states that the ozone depletion caused by the process would be significant at low to mid latitudes but that this isn't a big deal because it is no worse that the natural ozone depletion that occurs in the polar regions during a major solar storm.

How did they manage to forget the difference in population densities between the low to mid latitudes versus the polar regions?

A ten day ozone hole over a +/- 30degree band from the equator would cause significant problems for a large population world-wide. Not something to shrug off by saying it's no worse than what happens at the north pole during a solar storm!

tim ab0wr
 
'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect HF  
by W1YW on August 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"I'm not sure how the ARRL publishing a rather factual article qualifies as “alarmist.” "

-----------------------------------------------

Then you haven't followed what others have written here.

For TWO DAYS the HEADLINE story on the ARRL web site was this story.

Only after they got flack did someone realize, IMO, what a huge gaff this was.

It ticked a lot of technical savvy hams off, is my bet.

It was shameful to project this as a big deal to hams.

SHAME!

Chip W1YW
 
'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect HF  
by W1YW on August 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
The last HANE event was the Gary Seven episode on Star Trek, airing 1969.

Before that the US was doing upper atmosphere testing for EMP. It was a big, big problem. Almost 50 years ago...

It screwed Telstar.

Look it up.
 
'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect HF  
by W1YW on August 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
...and now the story has been PULLED from the main page on the ARRL web site.

From MOST IMPORTANT to non-existent on the main page--in 24 hours.

What does THAT tell you about the judgement down in Newington?

As an ARRL member, I am MOST unhappy that this even got presented as REMOTELY important.

Of course. I am sure, IMO, some of you 'conspiracy', Art Bell aficianados will likely now insist that secret government forces intervened....

Yeh..the HAARP POLICE!

Just call'em Harpies....
 
'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect HF  
by W1YW on August 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Just imagine how much better our image with industry would have been if this had been done (pulled) with BPL....
 
RE: 'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect  
by K0RFD on August 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
It hasn't been pulled, it just floated down to page 2 because they posted a bunch of other stuff.

Hit the down arrow.
 
'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect HF  
by W1YW on August 19, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
...thus confirming that it has ben pulled from the main page.

I've never seen a HEADLINE news item pulled from the main page so fast.
 
RE: 'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect  
by W9WHE-II on August 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"The ARRL article spins things just enough to make it seem like it's an attack on ham radio. For example, omitting mentioning the effects of this are temporary".


TYPICAL ARRL ALARMIST PROPIGANDA, DESIGNED TO WHIP HAMS INTO A MONEY-DONATING FRENZY (i.e. arrl's spectrum defense fund) Does this over-reaction remind you of arrl's over-hyped, "the sky is falling" alarmist warnings about BPL?


 
RE: 'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect  
by W9WHE-II on August 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
Why doesn't arrl just send a letter to DARPA "demanding" that DARPA immeadiately cease and desist? After-all, we all know how powerfully influential arrl is with the government!
 
'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect HF  
by WN3VAW on August 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
So, let me see if I've got this right:

A New Zealand newspaper publishes an article discussing a relatively obscure study that proposes to ionize the D-Layer of the atmosphere to "protect" satellites.

A link to an on-line version of that article is posted here on eHam [http://www.eham.net/articles/14596].

At first, a few people (myself included) wonder about the article since no one appears to have heard of the proposal before. It turns out the proposal is real.

Several additional posts follow, both before & after the ARRL posts information on their web site... hold that thought... and outside of some questions about GPS and the space station, and some political commentary, nothing more is said.

Meanwhile, the ARRL posts an article about the news story, fleshing it out with more information about the study. This article later ends up in the weekly ARRL Letter, and in turn is posted as a new item here on eHam.

One individual, responding to the new post, raises questions about the HAARP project (which is directly related to information in both posts), specifically questioning HAARP in particular and secretive government research in general.

So: NOW the ARRL is being blasted for being:
-- Alarmist
-- Alarmist Propaganda
-- Activist
-- Irresponsible
-- Out of touch with science
-- Spinning this to their own benefit to raise money

And my favorite, for letting such an "important" news item (*gasp!*) SCROLL TO THE SECOND PAGE like a routine news item. (Which it is.)

Have I got the facts right here?

So tell me one thing, Chip, Tim, Jonathan and Ronald? What would you guys be saying if the ARRL had NOT mentioned this news item on their web site or in the ARRL Letter?

A little on-line research (which I did after reading the first article, since I hadn't heard about this before) will show that the original Telstar satellite is generally accepted as being disabled by the after-effects of an early upper-atmosphere nuclear experiment. So I don't think it's out of the question for us amateurs to be concerned with the possible effects of similar radiation "treatments" of the lower ionosphere, especially in consideration both of our own LEO satellites and of related services that could be affected, like GPS systems. Concern is one thing. Asking questions is one thing. Trying to find out the facts, trying to find out if this is just a "blue sky" theoretical paper or something that someone wants to actually try, that's one thing.

Blasting an organization that you, for your own reasons, have chosen not to associate with for bringing this information out in the open... that's another thing.

How can you have an effective voice if you're perceived as willing to twist anything to your point of view?
 
RE: 'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect  
by W9WHE-II on August 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"So tell me one thing, Chip, Tim, Jonathan and Ronald? What would you guys be saying if the ARRL had NOT mentioned this news item on their web site or in the ARRL Letter"

We have pointed out how arrl is once again being "alarmist". With all of arrl's "technical prowess" (afterall, arrl knows more about comm then Motorola, IBM and Matshusta combined) why didn't arrl anaylize the technical merits of the story? Because arrl would like nothing more then another "the sky is falling" threat to ham radio. There is no longer much CASH FLOW in the "BPL will end ham radio as we know it" claim. Donations to fight BPL are beginning to dry up. So arrl needs a new "threat" to kick-start CASH FLOW!

Afterall, ONLY the mighty arrl can protect us from the many threats to ham radio, right? ONLY the mighty arrl has the abillity to influence the government to protect the average ham, right?

Fooey.
When it comes to arrl, its time people start seeing the Newington Boys Club for what it is. A fifedom of, for and by a fraction of hams, for a fraction of hams.
 
RE: 'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect  
by W9WHE-II on August 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"Blasting an organization that you, for your own reasons, have chosen not to associate with for bringing this information out in the open... that's another thing"

Let's keep to the facts, shall we? I was an arrl member, but CANCELLED my membership, based upon arrl's ham UN-friendly ajenda. Not because of this latest alarmist article.


W9WHE
Proud to have CANCELLED my arrl membership!
 
RE: 'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect  
by W9WHE-II on August 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"So I don't think it's out of the question for us amateurs to be concerned with the possible effects of similar radiation "treatments".....especially in consideration .....of related services that could be affected, like GPS systems"

So its up to hams to be "concerned" about protecting the GPS system? I think we hams can sleep securely at night knowing that the US millitary, which relies upon the GPS system, will not permit something to harm a system they so depend on, don't you think?



 
'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect HF  
by W1YW on August 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"So: NOW the ARRL is being blasted for being:
-- Alarmist
-- Alarmist Propaganda
-- Activist
-- Irresponsible
-- Out of touch with science
-- Spinning this to their own benefit to raise money "

------------------------------------------------------

In some circumstances, these characterizations appear to apply. My opinion. And I AM an ARRL member...

I do believe that the ARRL projects an image which in many ways is alarmist and activist.

Irresponsible? Oh yes, IMO.

I think it is important that members dissent with the ARRL 'official' positions, when said positions are untenable, and there is no basis to assert that they represent the majority wishes of the membership.

BPL is a good case in point.

OTOH, there are some very good things that the ARRL does, for example in education.

However, the real question is how the ARRL acts on the best INTERESTS of Part 97 licensees... I think they fail miserably in that regard in recent years.

And when we lose the 3300 MHz band, the ARRL will not be there to stop it beforehand. My prediction.

73,
Chip W1YW
 
'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect HF  
by W1YW on August 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"So tell me one thing, Chip, Tim, Jonathan and Ronald? What would you guys be saying if the ARRL had NOT mentioned this news item on their web site or in the ARRL Letter:

-----------------------------

I, for one, never saw it in the ARRL Letter. I saw it as the MAIN NEWS ITEM on the www.ARRL.ORG web page. It was the MAIN NEWS ITEM until it was pulled. Now its about at the bottom.

Otherwise I would have ignored it as being not only unimportant, but presented as such.

PRESENTING IT TO THE WORLD AS **TOP NEWS** IN HAMS CIRCLES was totally irresponsible.

OK?

Please don't misrepresent what I said nor where I got my info.

Thanks.

Chip W1YW
 
'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect HF  
by W1YW on August 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
?So its up to hams to be "concerned" about protecting the GPS system..."

-----------------------------------

Well, no:-)!

W9WHE is right again!
 
'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect HF  
by W1YW on August 21, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
'Blasting an organization that you, for your own reasons, have chosen not to associate with for bringing this information out in the open... that's another thing'

-------------------------

Informed and educated dissension applies here.

And I am most certainly "associated " with the ARRL--I AM a member. But I am not blind. Nor stupid. Nor do I think ANY organization needs to be worshipped. This is not the Sierra Club, nor Greenpeace. Or PETA or ALF for that matter.

I have been a member of the ARRL for most of my 40 years in ham radio.

 
'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect HF  
by W1YW on August 22, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
"And my favorite, for letting such an "important" news item (*gasp!*) SCROLL TO THE SECOND PAGE like a routine news item. (Which it is.)"

-------------------------------------------------



OM, if you READ what has been said, you will see that the ARRL.ORG web site FEATURED the story as the TOP NEWS ITEM on the web site-- eventually it got pulled from that spot and move down towards oblivion--like being moved from front page column 1 in the NYT to page 13 bottom section....

Which is where it belonged in the FIRST place.

Does this register? Please acknowledge..

73,
Chip W1YW


 
RE: 'Radiation Belt Remediation' Plan Could Affect  
by AE6RO on August 22, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
W1YW:
Now that I've had a little Kalua in my cuppa this morning it is making much more sense. Or as the Russian might say,
"Nado peet vodku ponimat!" ("One needs to drink vodka to understand.") Oh no! Russian-speak!
But I digress. I don't know the pros or cons of this system to save the oh-so-precious satellites at the expense of the ionosphere and terribly, terribly obsolet HF communications.
I now realize there is a Much More Serious Conspiracy afoot!
There's this car that runs on Water, man! It runs on water and it has an air cooled fiberglass engine and THEY DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT IT!
Chip, it might be in underground developement in the Negev right now! But they don't want us to know!
73sssss, AE6RO
 
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